Derby So Yesterday, Looking Ahead to Hoops

Now that your obsession with Derby, and my obsession with JazzFest, are done for the year, let’s look ahead to what really matters.

Stanley Cup? Well, for a few us here, but not many.

MLB? Check with Rick Bozich on that. He’s locked in, even though his ChiSox suck.

College Football? Sure, Charlie Strong has our attention, but the Cards are still a few seasons away from national relevance. The Cats are stuck in the SEC, where they rule absolutely in another sport.

Which bring us to that other sport, Hoops. The way The Good Lord means for it to be.

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If you’ve been here in the past, you know I use the term “hoopaholic” a lot, to denote those of us in Kentuckiana, for whom this sport is our great passion.

So, imagine my surprise, when I see a fellow at JazzFest, wearing a ballcap with “Hoopaholics” emblazoned on it.

Turns out there’s a program in the Seattle area, started by Michael Johnson, a former Washington State baller, called Hoopaholics. Sounds great, a real community resource. You can read all about it at the web site.

Just ordered a t-shirt.

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Now, back to treating my addiction. By talking about next season, when it’s still the middle of May, and this year’s NBA playoffs aren’t close to being completed.

Most pundits have UK ranked #2 in the land, certainly no lower than a top-liner in a projected tourney bracket. (That is, after all, what it’s really about, right?)

It’s a legit position.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, the Cats will be young again. Especially at the point. And there are a bunch of guys with similar games and similar egos along the front line, who are going to be wanting a lot of PT and a lot of touches when on the court. Coach Cal has been a genius at getting superstars to play together. Next year would appear to be the sternest test yet at his ability to get future NBAers to sublimate their egos for the good of the team.

Marques Teague is going to have to prove he has the same maturity Brandon Knight had as a freshman. Darius Miller has yet to display the eye of the tiger lost when DeAndre Liggins stayed in the draft.

I say the Cats will be no worse than a #2 seed for the Dance, but that immaturity will rear its head when there. I don’t think the Cats will make it to the Final Four.

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Louisville is a consensus Top 10 pick. Joe Lunardi projects the Cards as a #2 seed.

What scares me about next year for the Cardinals is youth. Especially youth on the staff. Gone, most importantly, is old head Ralph Willard, somebody The Rick would actually listen to. Gone is Steve Masiello, the only other guy with any in game input.

And youth on the court. What the Cards missed severely this past season was a guy on the perimeter who could score one on one. Is Wayne Blackshear that kid? Angel Nunez?

With so many players of equal ability, will the same one for all, all for one mentality that prevailed last season continue?

Plus, something’s happened to The Rick’s magic touch in March. Two first round losses in a row, the last against Morehead State, totally ineplicable. Or acceptable. Which is not to mention the spate of rumors, true or not, about dis-ease within the program.

I’m guessing a #4 seed, with the Cards bowing out no later than the Elite Eight, probably sooner. Making it to the first weekend would be an improvement. How sad is that?

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Will Indiana improve enough to at least be a bubble team?

I didn’t watch them enough this past season to gauge what they’ve had? I’m not familiar enough with this Zeller savior or his fellow recruits to know how much value they add?

I do know some Hoosier fans that are ready for some serious improvement. Read: Tom Crean’s honeymoon is ovah!

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I will add my name to the lengthy list of observers who cannot figure out why CBS would let Gus Johnson go?

Could he possibly have asked for way too much money? The top post position?

Did CBS realize he should be their main man, and knew it would cause too much trouble to keep him around?

Whatever. College hoops fans are the losers. Guess we’ll be tuning in the Big Ten network a lot more next season. And Fox.

– Seedy K

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